Celebrity chefs don’t just cook

Some celebrity chefs stick to their cookbooks and TV shows, some simply lend their name, and some go the entire route to produce a product line. But like many sports figures who actually make much more money from their endorsements than from their sport, many cooks seem to have hit the ground running with their own personal line of appliances, kitchen gadgets, and condiment lines. The list is seemingly endless, but here is who is headlining the hit parade:

Miguel chiarello – This Italian food chef seems happy with his family’s vineyard, award-winning Napa restaurant, and cookbooks, all of which keep him busy.

Guy fieri – Wild and vivacious restaurant owner and Food Network star, he sells a simple line of cookware, silverware, and T-shirts on his website.

Rachael ray – better known for her upbeat and cheerful personality than her cooking, she showcases a line of cookware, cookware, and bakeware, which is ironic as she’s the first to tell you she doesn’t bake.

George foreman – sympathetic ex-boxer who followed Ron Popeil’s lead and touts his own incredibly successful countertop grills.

Martha Stewart – a mega industry unto itself, with videos, cookbooks, bedding, and even its own magazine.

Giada de Laurentis – Following Martha Stewart’s lead, it is a true corporation with its own kitchen utensils, appliances, cookbooks and has recently ventured into the restaurant business.

Paula deen – The southern cook sells an extensive line of gadgets, cookware, and utensils, plus baked goods, and of course her famous restaurant Savannah (strangely, a large butter plate is missing from her line).

Bobby flay – prefers the cookbook and restaurant route, but sells a simple line of discounted grilling equipment that includes (not surprising here) stainless steel BBQ sauce pots with a built-in silicone brush.

Ina garten – focuses on cookbooks (and her husband Jeffrey) but could definitely benefit from a giant salt shaker.

Gordon ramsay – so incredibly busy with his TV shows, cookbooks, and restaurants, that he’s endorsing a simple and elegant line of dinnerware for British Chinese giant Royal Doulton, along with silverware.

Jamie Oliver – Quiet and unpretentious British who sells a wide line of cookware.

Nigella lawson – Popular British food writer and kitchen hostess has her own line of dinnerware, cookware, and utensils.

Emeril lagasse – Beloved New Orleans-style chef, popular cooking show host and restaurant owner, offers an extensive line of sauces and condiments, as well as high-quality silverware.

Paul Prudhomme – The best chef in New Orleans who practically invented Creole and Cajun cuisine, understandably left his mark not only as a successful chef and restaurateur, but created an extensive line of spices and marinades.

Wolfgang Disc – he does it all, with restaurants, food products, and kitchen utensils (his frozen food line was bombed a few years ago, he can’t win them all).

Thomas keller – World-class chef and restaurateur, sells an expensive cookware set through Williams Sonoma called TK (clearly not for those on a budget).

Paul bocuse – The French chef considered the “father of culinary art” runs the gamut with cookware, restaurants, food products and even a double oven cooker just for serious and professional chefs (or those who can afford to pretend that they are).

Jack lalanne – America’s most recognized television exercise guru, revolutionized the juice industry and still has his name on the front line of juicers.

And no one can count on the president of foodies, Thomas Jefferson, who lost ship for nearly two centuries to the first French ice cream maker, discovered in France and brought to America in the early 1800s.

Sadly, several of the aforementioned professionals are no longer with us, but their legacies endure in their product lines.

So the big question remains: do these chefs actually design and test their products, do they just lend their name, or are they micromanagers of production and marketing? Nobody is speaking. Are expensive ones better than inexpensive ones, or do consumers only pay for a high-priced name? It is anyone’s guess. But in this author’s humble opinion, you sure want to “try before you buy” and then maybe just stick with a good old paring knife, a little effort, and the pots and pans your mother used.

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